Made in WNY: Salvatore's Holiday Tradition

December 2, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 10:19 AM EDT

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December 2, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 10:19 AM EDT

There's no denying that Salvatore's sparkles, but these days the Italian Gardens are really lit up. "People get a different feeling when they come in at holiday time, especially because the place looks so different than it usually does," explains Nicholas Salvatore, manager at Salvatore's Italian Gardens.

That's because the restaurant decks the halls with holiday décor each year, "Salvatore's style."

"Our whole family, we've always done everything over the top and big," Salvatore said. "It's kind of what we've been known for."

Salvatore's mother, Paula, designs the annual display, which is unique, year after year. Themes have ranged from the Nutcracker to Grinch or Polar Express.

"She never does same thing two years in a row," Salvatore said. "She has a vision each year and the theme this year is Salvatore's Sparkles so everything is shiny and bright with lots of lights. You get a real wow factor when you walk in."

Even the gift shop is transformed into a real edible gingerbread house, thanks to the kitchen staff. Though customers aren't allowed to touch, they are encouraged to gaze.

The restaurant expects thousands of visitors this holiday season as the Buffalo business embraces a winter wonderland.

"It's great to see everybody come in," Salvatore said. "They're all happy because December in Buffalo is a great time of year!"